Lotto rider Greipel had claimed his first win of this year’s race on Wednesday when he dominated a small bunch sprint devoid of rival Mark Cavendish after the Briton suffered a crash inside the final 3km.
This time, Cavendish was in the mix but after a tough, slightly uphill finish that was arguably more suited to his rivals the Team Sky fast man could only finish fifth. Greipel, taking his third win of the race after his maiden win ahead of Cavendish last year, beat Australia’s Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) at the end of the 196km ride with Argentina’s Juan Jose Haedo of Saxo Bank in third.
“I’m very happy with this second win and I want to say thank you to my teammates for all their hard work,” said Greipel, who was quick to affirm his status as one of Cavendish’s main threats this year. “I don’t know why everyone believes I can’t beat him. I already beat him last year and I have the best team around me. Yesterday he crashed, but today he was there. I’m very happy to win my
second stage in the Tour de France.”
Swiss rider Fabian Cancellera held onto the leader’s yellow jersey by seven seconds from Briton Bradley Wiggins with Australia’s defending champion Cadel Evans in seventh, at 17sec. The RadioShack rider will spend his 27th day in the yellow jersey on Friday, meaning he will overtake Rene Vietto’s record for owning the biggest collection of Tour leader’s jerseys for someone who hasn’t won the overall title. “That’s something I’m very proud of,” said Cancellara, who first pulled on the fabled jersey in 2004 when he won the prologue in Liege.
The Swiss, however, refused to be drawn on the controversy which threatens to overshadow the remainder of the race for the teams with rider implicated in the Armstrong probe. “There was no talk of that today in the race,” added Cancellara when asked if it had been a topic of discussion in the peloton. “On the other hand, it’s something I don’t want to discuss too much because I want to look forwards and not back.”